A Vow to Self

"Behind all resistance is fear. Behind all fear is a lack of faith in oneself." ~Dina Bachelor Evan The thing that I love about marriage (besides not being married at the time I am writing this) is that it is a vow, an amazingly brave vow to take. It basically says that you will do the hard work it takes to learn, grow, be vulnerable, not hide, accept, love and support someone, even when you want to run away… it is, in truth a vow to your Self to work on you through your relationship to another. Marriage is a crazy beautiful ridiculous impossible rewarding thing, even when it doesn't work out. Vows are powerful and scary, beautiful and breathtaking, magical and mysterious. They matter when you make them and they matter when you break them. The truth is, many people don't ever imagine a time, when they are getting married, that they wouldn't want to be married to the person they are with, until it happens.

My father refuses to talk about death, scares him shitless. It is going to happen, to him, to me, to everyone that is alive. Death is a promise the moment you are conceived. It is the ONLY thing you can count on from the very beginning. Well, falling out of love with someone is the promise of falling in love with someone. What if, instead of avoiding the inevitable, everyone started discussing what they planned on doing when things get tough with their significant others, how they planned on moving through the struggle? What if we recognized that growth was inevitable and a potential 30, 40, 50 years with someone would yield at least 1-5 years of rough patch territory; seriously. A few years of struggle ain't so bad in the grand scheme of things. When you are looking at eons, a couple of years is a drop in the bucket. Besides, what is the point of getting married if you aren't going to do what you can when shit is going south? That is called dating and it is awesome because you can just get the hell out of dodge when someone is annoying. The downside to dating is that you can get the hell out of dodge when someone is annoying. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not one to tell anyone to stay in something that is shitty. On the contrary, I break up with friends when I feel that the friendship is no longer serving me in a healthy way. I know that everything ends. I know that what happens is what is meant to… so it goes. I do believe, however, if you have the chance to do your work, take it, especially when you made a promise to do so.

No matter how far away you go, you will still be where you are. Leaving one thing to go to the next doesn't actually solve the issue, which is always, my loves, you. No matter how much you would prefer the other person to be wrong, fucked up, and unworthy, you only see in another what you have within yourself. The best part of commitment is commitment. You will learn to stretch and grow and do more and go farther and suck it up in ways you would never if you weren't committed. It is like being committed to a workout plan as opposed to just working out when you feel like it. The part that is hard, really really hard is that you have to face the fact that the only way to make things better in your life is to truly love, cherish and honor yourself and that your understanding of how to do that is archaic and often just plain wrong. When you realize that you have to say the hard thing, do the hard work, and look deep inside and face the dark stuff, you may want to run. Wanting to flee is often a response to not wanting to see…. not wanting to see how you gave yourself away thinking you were taking care of your partner, when you were, in actuality, giving your power away to someone who was giving their power away too. Both partners feeling powerless and thinking that they are helping the other out in whatever way they thought they were supposed to, only to get angry and blame the other for their unhappiness at a later date. Relationships can force you, when pushed to their powerful potential, to deal with your Self, in ways you would never if given the chance to just cut and run. Of course, you don't have to deal, but the blessings that come when you do are immeasurable.

Now just because you work on your things and potentially heal your wounds with your partner does not mean you will remain partnered… your work together may be over after that, this healing may be exactly why you joined in a union to begin with. It is also the case that you must have a partner who is willing and ready to work on things in order to actually heal with them. If you have a partner who has given up you may need to move on. I have been there, I was married, have been in long term relationships, I get it. Nothing lasts forever, nothing ever could. My hope is that you receive all of the gifts an experience is here to give and from that place of strength make choices from your highest most ideal space to take your next beautiful steps.


Love, love and more love.

xo a

There Is More

Howdy! I rowed all four years in college.  It was an amazing time and I can honestly say that so much of my philosophies on life are based on my years as a competitive rower.  I learned about myself, what is possible or at least what was possible in the moments that existed then, about others, about stress, joy and love, and about perseverance.  I had never done team sports before college so I was new to competing in a structured environment so it took me a few months to get my feet underneath me.  When I did finally get a glimmer of the possibility I became the strongest female rower (as far as erg times) on both the varsity and novice teams.  I was on top and, because I am competitive, was determined to stay there.

I had a 3.5 years left as a college rower once I reached the top so I had to figure out how to handle the new rowers coming up in order to keep my seat and status as numero uno.  I worked out over the summers, I lifted with friends, I did the extra work that I needed to stay strong.  I worked on my mental toughness, I tested and sent scores into the US Rowing Team to stay motivated.  I also found motivation with the rowers around me.  During tests the top ergers would generally sit next to one another for motivation.  I would make sure that I was always a few seconds faster than the next fastest rower.  It was easy to pace off of someone and to just do enough to stay on top.  It worked and I wasn't topped until I was gone.

Most people compare themselves with others around them to see if they are cutting the mustard.  We are a competitive society after all.  Competition isn't in and of itself and issue, it is how we compete and what meaning we give to the results that end up being problematic.  So often I hear people saying that they eat better than the people they know, they work out more, they are smarter than, more helpful, and so on and so on.  I hear people in various positions saying that they are the best this or that.  You can believe that you are the best, or that you are better or whatever but you always need to be aware of the pool you are comparing yourself against.  If you are the fittest person at your job and you live in the United States, chances are that isn't so hard to do.  Most Americans are obese (40lbs overweight), so being the healthiest is rather simple.  Falling into this line of thinking can be tricky because you stop striving for your best and just look to being the best in comparison to those around you.  Your best is then limited by who you are competing against.  

Well, I get it, I did it and it wasn't until I graduated and began training on my own that I discovered true competition and true success.  When I began training in a single sculling boat I no longer had the team to compare myself to.  I was now a small fish in an ocean and the games were just beginning.  I realized that all I could ever use as a meter to base my success on was the person I was the day before; use the scores from yesterday, three days ago, last week or last month.  I was my competition, I was my motivation.  It wasn't until I realized this that I became great.  I began to challenge what I thought was possible by digging deeper within myself, by going farther than I had the day before, by understanding that there were no limits, really.  When I stopped competing I started winning.  

Everyday I try to push myself farther in some way or another.  I take praise from others as a sign of love and admiration but I don't let it go to my head, ever.  I never believe that I am at the top of my game.  If I believed that I would stop working harder, going farther, dreaming bigger.  I refuse to stop because I am ahead… I never believe that to be the case anyway.  I am always in the middle of the pack, working to see what I couldn't see before, working to be where I never was before.  

Instead of comparing yourself to others, ask yourself if you are working hard and doing your best in the moment.  Dream BIG.  Set your sights on something you think is unattainable and then steadily attain it.  Why not?  It isn't about anyone else, it is about yourself, your potential, your exploration of who you really are and can be.  It isn't about losing or winning it is about stepping outside of the hamster wheel and feeling the real freedom of success.  Going beyond what is expected, not letting others' ideas of what can be dictate your life and what you do.  Truly live your life to it's fullest regardless of the lives being lived around you.



Number 1


Hey there, What would you do if you won the lotto?  If you won a jackpot of $275 million dollars after taxes, what would you do?  What line of work, where would you live, how would you go about your daily life?  What would you change and what would stay the same?  I know that I have asked myself this question countless times.  Sometimes the only upgrades I would make have to do with my living space and other times I want to do a complete overhaul.  Where are you on that spectrum?  Are you pretty groovy with most things or would hitting the jackpot create a new world for you, happier and yummier (you hope)?  


First note anything you would want to get rid of.  Write it down.  Look at it… say it aloud.  It is important to note that we all know what isn't working in our worlds.  You may have written down anything from leaving a partner to living in another country.  You could have simply written down that you would only change your debt status.  Whatever the area that you are willing to drop like a hot potato if money wasn't an object needs to be dropped anyway.  You sometimes have to get out of your own way to see that you know what you need and/or what needs to leave.  

We love to tell ourselves that we are stuck in a situation and that there is no way out.  We find every reason that never truly is good to stay in something that isn't working.  Maybe a part here and there satisfies you in some way, but truly, when you are doing something that takes from you, what is the point?  How much money is your soul worth?  How much pain and frustration is your life deserving of?  How long do you need to be discontent before you refuse to be discontent?  At some point it is ok to let go of things that aren't fulfilling you completely.  We tell ourselves that if we had the money then we could do blah blah blah.  We say that if he or she did this or that then a, b, c and d would get done or be better.  We think that we have to be fit to do something challenging.  We think we have to have a certain environment to take better care of our health.  There is always some reason that we don't do what we know we want to do now.  When will you run out of excuses?

Asking yourself what you would do if you won the lotto is a great way to check your true desires.  We often judge what we want before we ever let ourselves or anyone else here it.  This judgement is often based on financial matters or what others may think of you.  Find out what your true desires and motivations are.  This is where happiness is.  Once you line your life up with your love, magic happens.  No amount of money will trump waking up in the morning and not needing to win the lotto to feel like a winner.



What's Good???

Good Morning!!! Tuesday Gratitude Practice is here!!!  How will you take what you are grateful for through the rest of your day?  This isn't just about writing it down and sending it back…  put it out there!  Let the world feel your appreciation!  Let's make a difference.    

 This only  takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer.  So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself.  Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well).  What are you feeling gratitude around?  Here are mine for this week:

Setting Goals.

Getting Older.

Late Night Work Outs.


Every Day.  

There are no right or wrong answers.  It is about what you are grateful for.   It is proven that doing this once a week for three months (actually just 9 weeks) makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights.  You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.

So… what are you waiting for???

Food for thought:

I was recently told that I wasn't being fair for expecting someone to be unrelenting when it came to doing their work.  By "their work" I mean taking the utmost care of themselves in every way each and every day.  Well, I am not here to be fair.  Cancer isn't fair, MS isn't fair, AIDS isn't fair, mental illness isn't fair, nervous breakdowns aren't fair so how in the hell am I supposed to be fair when I am working to move people to a place where they can let go of concern around experiencing those not fair things?  When you are asking for help how does fair play a role?  When you are on the verge of falling into a deep dark chasm, how does fair play into helping you out of it when it was you who put yourself there?  At the point where you are falling, you need to be caught by any means necessary.  

I am not here to be fair.  I am here to make things happen.  If you want to get beyond where you have been then you will deal with the fact that doing something different will be challenging.  You will need to recognize that you haven't been the best at taking care of yourself in the past and you need some guidance around it.  Let your ego in on this fact so it can chill the hell out.  If your ego was of sound mind and body you wouldn't be in the situation you are in now.  It is what it is… and it isn't bad or good.  Embrace where you are so you can get moving if you desire to.  

If you have been hurting yourself for 25, 35, 50 years you have some work to do and it isn't going to be a 6 week boot camp or a 10 day juice fast, or 30 days of meditating that will do it.  You have to work, daily, on many levels.  You have to do work when no one is around, when you don't want to do it, when you are sick, tired, on vacation, with friends, or at work.  You will have to do work the rest of your life.  You will need to change your life if you would like your life to change.  

So, what does fair have to do with a damn thing?  Life isn't fair and neither am I.  I am, however, really good at getting results, so suck it up and get it done.



Love Revolution


How do we bring about change in one another?  How do we make the world a more loving and creative space?  What is the answer to the question of what or who will change the world?  The funny thing is the answer isn't far-fetched or some equation that only two people know.  Michael Jackson sang about it, most spiritual leaders speak on it.  It is simple, it is profound, it is layered, it is multi-dimensional… it, the thing that can change everything is you loving you, fully and without condition.  

The trick is that it isn't about helping others in the way we have seen it done historically; it isn't about resisting what is. It is about steadily opening yourself up to what is.  About accepting your world and seeing it, truly.  It is about learning what you filter and why… who you are and how you came to be.  It is about sharing that information with those around you and receiving others as they do the same.  When you begin to accept you let go of what should or shouldn't be.  This is where it gets big:  when you stop denying you are able to receive what the truth behind the tragedy, the horror, the struggle and the confusion is.  There is opportunity to find what you need to know everywhere around you.  Most people have been taught that certain things should not exist, though they do, so those things keep happening because no one is actually seeing these things as truths, purposeful truths.  Instead we turn away from the horror and condemn it as evil.  We see tragedy and say that this was not supposed to happen.  We hear pain and we turn away from it, saying it is wrong.  How do we learn, then, from what is happening, if we deem it a mistake and pay no mind? 

What is wrong?  What is tragedy?  What is acceptance?  How do we learn about the human spirit?  How do we discover unity?  How do most people realize they are like others?  These things, these lives that come and these lives that go, these moments that change us forever, they all have reasons.  Some are discovered immediately and others are looked at best in conjunction with other similar happenings.  Until we learn that it isn't about changing others we will constantly be forced inward to deal with you.    There is a method to the madness, seriously… and this is where the layers start to peel back.  There is a grand show being put on for your benefit.  It is like an amazingly lucid and super-duper long lucid dream.  Now it is your turn to switch it up, take control of what is happening and decide what is or is not necessary for a world full of love.

Until you accept where you are, where this world is, ain't nothing gonna change.  This work I am suggesting you do takes love.  You have to love yourself, you have to want love to be the driving force behind all things instead of the fear that moves most of us now.  It isn't rocket science, it is bigger than that.  Loving who you are, working on being the love you truly are on a moment to moment basis, is harder than anything anyone could do outside of yourself.  You will have to accept your judgments, you will have to accept your shit.  You will have to truly find compassion for all things and behave accordingly in order to change the world.  You can do it, we all can, we all will.

The revolution is love.




Blame Yourself

Howdy, Something that has always been a challenge with me in relationship is when someone says, "you made me angry, or you hurt my feelings, or you insert blame here.  I first stop caring almost immediately (true story) because blame and Aina are like oil and water.  I literally separate from myself from it.  Then I go into explaining how I cannot make anyone feel anything.  That is solely up to the feeler.  You do that totally on your own.  I cannot tell you how many arguments I have been in where that has been believed to be a debate.  I am imagining that some of you right now are appalled at the idea that your feelings aren't because of someone else.  If this is true for any of you, "Welcome To Truth."  It may not be what you want but it is certainly what you need.

We spend so much of our lives blaming this person or that establishment, or this situation for how we feel, what we do, why we do it… we are running around shirking responsibility like it is our job.  Most people are seasoned pros at how to make it about someone else.  They said it with this tone, she looked at me this way, you made me a, b or c.  Another tool in the blame box is should.  You should have said this, or you should have done that and then everything would be a-ok.  Or you shouldn't do things that make me blah blah f*cking blah.  

The truth is your feelings originate with you.  Period.  I don't like street clothes in the bed, period.  Now no one makes me mad, it is just a preference I have.  I choose to be angry over it or not.  I don't have to be if I choose not to be.  If I am dating someone and they don't do something that I would like for them to do I can decide how I will respond.  It isn't written in the stars that I get pissed off with them.  They certainly aren't choosing my emotions for me.  I, along with the years I have been on this planet as Aina, experiencing her experiences and taking in whatever programming/conditioning I chose to take, help me decide how I am going to feel about not getting what I want in one situation or another.  I could be like most everyone else and decide that something outside of me is pulling the strings… but it just isn't true.  If I were someone else and that person had a different set of rules and programming/conditioning the street clothes issue wouldn't be an issue.  Because my feelings, preferences, want, needs are my own.  How I feel about someone doing anything is also my own.  I create the world I live in which includes the feelings I have.  Once you own it you can work on controlling it a bit… and you can most certainly stop blaming.  

The hard part of all of this is that owning your feelings is the Ultimate Responsibility.  When you realize you are the reason for everything in your life and you have no one to blame you have to start looking at yourself.  No one else can be a distraction any longer.  You will see how you allow yourself to be victimized by this or that feeling.  You allow yourself to be taken advantage of, sick, depressed, unhappy, abused, rejected, etc.  You also allow yourself to be loved, honored, cared for, praised, appreciated.  The ultimate responsibility is ultimately a blessing.  It reminds you that you are in the driver's seat.  Your feelings, your ideas, your situations are up to you.  The world you live in is the one you create, not the one you blame on someone or something else. 

So wake up and take responsibility.  Stop giving others credit for what you are doing.  You are the reason.  Always have been always will be.